Together with scientists, lawyers and climate activists from the Pacific, we have developed a new legal standard for what the “right to life with dignity” means in international law. We believe this can provide a more equitable framework for climate-displaced people. 

Right now, there is no legal standard to recognise when environmental degradation – caused by climate change – becomes a human rights concern. Yet it is beyond dispute that climate change affects the enjoyment of human rights including the right to life, food, health and culture. 

Pacific communities are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, and are facing extreme violations of their human rights from climate inaction. There have already been examples of displacement, both short and long term. This raises the question of how we are protecting the mobility of the climate displaced at national and international levels. 

States must be prepared to protect climate migrants within their borders and externally – but have not been legally obliged to do so. The “right to life with dignity” is a core provision in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – but what “dignity” means remains widely interpreted.

We are seeking feedback about how the “right to life with dignity” in the context of climate migration resonates with your work and experiences. We are committed to ensuring that our proposed legal framework, and any next steps, can have the biggest impact on frontline realities.

If you are a Pacific climate activist interested in legal frameworks and climate migration: we’d be thrilled to have you join our discussions. There is no required legal background  – interest in these issues is plenty! 

In these conversations, we will explore what the “right to life with dignity” means for climate migrants. This might include discussing when courts should intervene to protect climate migrants, what kind of adaptation policies governments should be implementing, and how climate policies can balance the preservation of culture and tradition. 

We can only do this work with your help. 

If you would like to participate, register for one of the following Zoom sessions so we can set up the small group discussions. 

Wednesday 18 May at 1-2:30pm (NZT)

Thursday 26 May at 1-2:30pm (NZT)

Tuesday 31 May at 1-2:30pm (NZT)

If you would prefer to speak to one of our team members 1:1, there is the option to schedule a 45-minute time slot to speak to us individually. You can schedule a 1:1 discussion here

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch. And hope to see you soon!